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Scientists lobby for dolphin, whale 'bill of rights.'

Dolphins and whales have such a high level of intelligence that they should be recognized as "non-human persons" and be given their own universal bill of rights.

That was the conclusion of scientists, animal rights activists and philosophers who met over at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference in Vancouver.

"Dolphins are non-human persons. A person needs to be an individual. If individuals count, then the deliberate killing of individuals of this sort is ethically the equivalent of deliberately killing a human being," Dr. Thomas White, ethics expert at Loyola Marymount University in California, said.

The scientists are hopeful that international authorities will give cetaceans a legally-binding declaration of rights which would make it illegal to keep the animals in marine parks. Killing cetaceans would be regarded as murder, under such a bill.

Recent studies have shown increasing similarities between dolphins and humans. Like humans, dolphins think of the future, follow instructions from watching TV without being trained to do so, and display altruistic behavior.

The Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans -- established two years ago -- has been active in getting support from scientists and is currently working to attract policymakers to its cause.

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Gee, I'm not sure if this is a positive step or a terrible way to further entrench speciesism. 

I don't like the assumption that because dolphins and whales are considered to be more intelligent than other animals, they deserve more consideration and that we should exploit them less, based on their perceived intelligence, and similarities to humans. That seems awfully like human arrogance and supremacy in the extreme to me. 
The article states:

"The marine experts said that, like humans, cetaceans have their own personalities, exist in highly sophisticated societies and are "far more intellectually and emotionally sophisticated than previously thought.""

I don't disagree with that, but, so many other animals could be described in exactly the same way. A quick look at Jordan Wyatt's videos of his Chicken Friends would be evidence to that. I'm not sure why cetaceans are being singled out here.

 I think it's seriously dangerous to single out cetaceans, when there are so many other animals who are equally deserving of the same respect and dignity that it is being suggested cetaceans should be receiving. 

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